Nagasaki Marks A-bomb Anniversary, Calls for Abolition

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People join hands in front of the Peace Statue at Nagasaki Peace Park on Wednesday.

NAGASAKI — Nagasaki marked the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing it suffered in 1945 on Wednesday, in a peace ceremony for which the venue was changed from Nagasaki Peace Park to an indoor facility due to the effects of Typhoon Khanun. The storm also prevented most of the expected hibakusha atomic bomb survivors from attending.

While reading a peace declaration at the ceremony, Nagasaki Mayor Shiro Suzuki said “the risk of nuclear war” is increasing further due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other situations. Suzuki also said that “knowing the reality of the atomic bombings [through visiting the A-bombed cities] is the starting point for achieving a world without nuclear weapons.”

It was the first time in 60 years for the ceremony to be held indoors. According to the original plan, about 2,400 people were to attend. However, due to the typhoon, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and ambassadors from around the world, as well as general attendees, including A-bomb survivors, did not attend the ceremony.

A representative of the A-bomb survivors who read a Pledge for Peace in the ceremony had arrived in Nagasaki before the typhoon approached the city. Considering the wish of the representative, the city allowed that person to attend the event. Since the ceremony started in 1956, this is the first time that almost no A-bomb survivors attended.

At 11:02 a.m., the time of the dropping of the atomic bomb, about 50 people, including city council members, observed a moment of silence to pray for the souls of the victims.

While reading a peace declaration for the first time since becoming a mayor, Suzuki, a “second-generation A-bomb survivor,” referred to the Group of Seven summit meeting that was held in Hiroshima in May, saying that the leaders of G7 nations visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and met with A-bomb survivors and they showed “the world through their own actions the importance of knowing the reality of the atomic bombings.”

The ceremony included a dedication of a list of the names of 3,314 survivors who were confirmed dead in the year through July. The total number of deaths of people related to the atomic bombing of Nagasaki now comes to 195,607. Both at Nagasaki Peace Park and at the hypocenter, A-bomb survivors and their families quietly prayed while it occasionally rained hard.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Participants fall silent at the time of the dropping of the atomic bomb at a ceremony in Nagasaki on Wednesday.

Kishida’s video message

In a video message, Kishida said, “Against the backdrop of the widening division within the international community over approaches to nuclear disarmament and Russia’s nuclear threat, the road to achieving ‘a world without nuclear weapons’ has become all the more difficult.”

He also called for “the international community to unite in maintaining and strengthening the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” (NPT) and showed his intention that Japan “will lead global efforts” to realize “a world without nuclear weapons.”